Friday, February 26, 2010

The Gift of The... well, Let's Just Call It The Gift

"MOM!  There's poop on the floor and it's not mine!"    I can't tell which child has yelled this to me from the next room.

I reluctantly walk to the playroom, and sure enough, there is a little round nugget sitting smack dab in the middle of the floor, like a marble from the wrong side of the tracks.

"Who does this belong to?"   I say through clenched teeth, as if ownership matters.

Three sets of blinking eyes look up at me:  Greta, Finn and Casper, our dog.    "Not me,"  Greta and Finn say simultaneously.  The dog perks her ears up and cocks her head, as if to say "I'm too cute to do something like that.  Can I have some cheese?"

Every inch of today has been a struggle, and I'm feeling sorry for myself.

It took ten minutes to put Finn's shoes on this morning, because he had a meltdown after I put his left shoe on first.  "NOOOOOOO.  DA OTHER SHOOOOOOOE FIRST! WAAAAAH!"  he sobbed over and over, curled in a tight little ball and refusing to budge.    Greta's self-selected outfit would have looked beautiful on Easter, but not a stormy, rainy freezing day in February.   Subsequent outfit selections are only marginally better, and she almost misses the bus.   

Finn and I run a few errands, which should take about an hour, but take two and a half hours because of his new "game".   Every time he gets out of the car he assumes a statue-like pose and won't move until I find the magic "button" on his body to unfreeze him.   Finn calls it "Fwozen Boy".   I call it "Momma's Trying To Stay Sober Here So Get Your Ass In Gear".      I made the mistake of giggling hystercially with him the first time he did it.   Three weeks ago.   Now the fun never ends. 

After school I battle with Greta about doing her homework, with Finn about the appropriate places to draw: NOT on the dog, your body or the wall, please, just on paper.   He finds the loophole and draws a rainstorm - on paper - with a dark blue marker he punches through the paper making dark round stains on the carpet.   I send him crying to his room, amending my ruling:   and not on the carpet, only on the TABLE!    

Because of less-than-stellar behavior I ban the television and computer for the rest of the day; this proves to punish only me because they follow me around, whining that there is no food in the house, nothing to do, I'm a Horrible Mean Mother.

We have a grocery delivery service.   Ordinarily, this is the best thing that ever happened to me - they bring your groceries right into your house! - but due to torrential winds and rain the delivery guy is late.   Really late.   There is, quite literally, nothing to serve for dinner.    Steve is away on a business trip; no reinforcements are forthcoming.   The whining and complaining escalates, and I lock myself in the bathroom, count to ten and try to ground myself.   

That's when they make their pronouncement about the unclaimed fecal matter on the floor.

So there I am, looking down at those three little sets of eyes, and I feel it well up inside - a tidal wave of frustration, anger and boredom.   My hands are clenched, my heart is racing.   I am so tired of one-step-forward-two-steps-back I want to scream, and I nearly do.  

Then, out of nowhere, I simply let it go.   The anger that has been coiling tighter and tighter inside me all day loosens, evaporates.

I start to laugh.   Greta and Finn look at each other, wondering if I have finally lost it, and maybe I have. Pointing to the unwanted little brown gift on the floor, I say  "Well, that solves the problem of what to have for dinner!"   I'm giggling uncontrollably.     The kids grin, uncertainly at first, then start laughing in earnest.    Together, we clean up the mess, wiping away tears of laughter about a song Finn spontaneously makes up about 'da doody on da fwoor'.       

The grocery delivery man arrives just as we finish cleaning up.  "What's so funny?"  he smiles, sending us into more peals of laughter.

Before getting in to bed, I take a moment to say a prayer of thanks.   I don't always remember to pray - most of the time I forget, in fact - but tonight I remember.

"Thank you," I whisper.   "Thank you for helping me let it go.   Thank you for the laughter.   Next time, though?   Feel free to deliver the message in a more, er, sanitary package."


  1. lmao! I LOVE IT!!! :) I hope to be like you, and be able to let the little "poo" go ... in all things. It's not always easy, yet it's SO worth that laugh, isn't it?

  2. totally awesome. If you can't cry, laugh.

  3. You go, lady. THAT is the only classy way to respond to poo on the floor. :)

  4. I wish I had laughed at the times I have found poop on the floor (or anywhere that was not a toilet or diaper). Sounds like a victory to me.

  5. Hilarious :D My son has recently entered the phase of stripping off his diaper whenever he can, so I'm just -waiting- for the day he discovers poop.

  6. I love that you ended your day with laughter. It makes SUCH a big difference!

  7. Sweet mother I have said this so many times: I call it "Momma's Trying To Stay Sober Here So Get Your Ass In Gear". Just "Please please please - help me help you to help myself!!
    You are an inspiration to so many of us out here!!

  8. Great post, Ellie. I love it.


  9. Well done! You made the best out of a potentially awful situation! I only have one toddler, but also a mad puppy ... I know the feeling. Best advice I ever got when I became a mother: "Take time out when you feel like you are about to loose it" and laughter is a fantastic way to take time out!

  10. Thank you for making me laugh! I know how you feel; I took away my daughter's Ipod the other day and I swear it was more punishment for me than her :)

  11. baahhh!!! i love you and your insanity.

  12. Well done Ellie!! A good laugh is a powerful tool in the parenting quiver. I need to remember that!

  13. I wish I had laughed at the times I have found poop on the floor (or anywhere that was not a toilet or diaper). Sounds like a victory to me.